A low carbon electricity supply is the most cost-effective way to meet the need for more generation in the 2020s.
That’s according to a report by UK watchdog Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
It suggests new investment in power generation will be needed to replace retiring coal and nuclear power and several low carbon sources “are likely to be cost competitive with new gas-fired generation”.
It adds mature options like onshore wind and solar are “at that stage already”.
The report states : “Less mature options, like carbon capture and storage and offshore wind, will require continued support into the 2020s if they are to reach maturity. These both represent good value investments for a society committed to climate targets.”
The CCC believes low carbon options in the power sector are important to support emissions reduction in other sectors, such as transport and heating, as well as to reduce emissions from the industry itself.
It states “investments to 2020 are largely committed already” and households are currently paying around £45 a year on their electricity bill to support this investment. The figure could increase to £105 by 2020.
Lord Deben, Chair of the CCC, said: “The 2020s are crucial in setting the direction for UK power generation and to ensure the UK can meet its 2050 climate change commitments cost-effectively.
“The key tools are already in place to deliver the investment in low carbon generation that is required. The government must now urgently clarify the direction of future policy to ensure the power sector can decarbonise at lowest cost to businesses and households.”
The report sets out scenarios for the power sector in 2030 as an input to advice on the fifth carbon budget, which will be published next month.
Last week the CCC suggested by 2030 the UK should cut emissions by 54%.